Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov has said Ukraine will in the near future conclude new contracts for the supply of vaccines against COVID-19.

He made the comment during a daily online briefing on January 6, as reported by an UNIAN correspondent.

Read alsoUkraine to create register of vaccinated against COVID-19Stepanov added that Ukraine is in the final stage of contractual arrangements with vaccine manufacturers.

"I am not entitled to disclose information about the companies we're in contact with and the stage of arrangements before contracts have been signed. But I can say that in the near future, we'll sign more contracts with companies that will be supplying vaccines [against COVID-19] to Ukraine," the minister said.

Vaccines for Ukraine: Background

In March, the first batch with 8 million doses of a vaccine is expected to be shipped to Ukraine under the COVAX Facility. These doses are enough to vaccinate 4 million people, because one person needs two shots of the vaccine. Doctors, senior citizens, and seriously ill patients will get vaccinated first.

On December 24, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said that his ministry was working out a plan to increase the vaccine quota as part of the COVAX global initiative from 8 million to 16 million doses.

Read alsoCOVID-19 vaccines bought by government will be free for all UkrainiansOn December 22, Ukraine's Health Ministry approved a plan for vaccination of the population against COVID-19. The goal of this plan is to vaccinate at least 50% of the population of Ukraine (20 million people) in 2021-2022.

On December 30, the Ukrainian Health Ministry signed a contract for the supply of China's Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine to Ukraine. The purchase provides for 1,913,316 doses at UAH 504 (US$18) per dose. China plans to obtain permission to use the vaccine inside the country and abroad in January next year, and the vaccine will also be submitted for retraining to the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2021.

The contract for supplies to the territory of Ukraine has been signed with Lekhim JSC, which, according to official confirmations from Sinovac Biotech, is the only authorized representative of the vaccine manufacturer in Ukraine.

Under the terms of the contract, the first batch of 700,000 doses will be delivered to Ukraine within 30 days after official registration in China, or by one of the competent authorities of the United States, Great Britain, the Swiss Confederation, Japan, Australia, Canada, Israel, India, Mexico, Brazil, or under a centralized procedure by the competent authority of the European Union.